By Saikaku Ihara, E. Powys Mathers
In outdated Japan, sexual love one of the samurai used to be permissible, and sometimes matured into lifelong companionships. Comrade Loves of the Samurai touches the topic of either general and irregular love with honesty and tenderness.
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Extra info for Comrade Loves of the Samurai (Tuttle Classics)
We are given no details, but the implications are unmistakable: She was clever and she had many delicate ways of pleasing him in the most trivial diversions. He had not seriously thought of her as a wife. Now he could not restrain himself. It would be a shock, of course. What had happened? Her women had no way of knowing when the line had been crossed. One morning Genji was up early and Murasaki stayed on and on in bed.... She had not dreamed he had anything of the sort on his mind. 52 28 Donald Keene Murasaki’s shock and disillusion are likely to be shared by the reader.
Is memorable too, if only because it is to her that Genji, speaking for Murasaki Shikibu, gives the famous explanation of the value of ﬁction. Genji responds perfectly to each woman. He is a genius at lovemaking, and if he had lived in a society where monogamy was strictly enforced or if, deciding that Murasaki was an ideal wife, he had never looked at another woman, the world would have been the poorer. Unlike Don Giovanni, he not only woos and wins each lady but he makes each feel sure of his love, and each is content with her small part of his life.
33. This is the subject of Janet Goff ’s Noh Drama and The Tale of Genji. See below, pp. 1022–24, for an example of how a passage from the “Suma” chapter of Genji was used in the No¯ play Matsukaze. 34. I am thinking, for example, of the passage in Part One of the “Wakana” chapter in which a cat on a leash upsets the screen protecting the Third Princess from the gaze of outsiders. Kashiwagi gets only a glimpse of the princess, but it is enough to make him fall desperately in love, the commencement of their tragic affair.
Comrade Loves of the Samurai (Tuttle Classics) by Saikaku Ihara, E. Powys Mathers